Meeting a Kiwi at the Whangarei Bird Recovery Centre - Day 338©
Meeting a Kiwi at the Whangarei Bird Recovery Centre - Day 338

Meeting a Kiwi at the Whangarei Bird Recovery Centre – Day 338


Day 338 on the Road

Kiwi Encounter at the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre

Today we are seeing native birds in Whangarei! If you like this video and want more NZ bucket list inspiration then jump on over to our epic YouTube Channel & Subscribe!

Today we are heading to the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery Centre.

This morning we head to the Native Bird Recovery Centre which is basically where all the native birds that have been injured are brought to be cured and sent back into the wild. And first up, we meet Robert in the education room.

So with our Kiwi we’ve we had our first one Snoopy but he passed away a couple of years ago but in the meantime we had another one which is Sparky and he lost his leg in a trap, so if you go and buy a trap you can buy a trap that will catch a possum for a 50c or a dollar or do you buy a trap that can’t catch a kiwi for 45- 40 dollars 50 dollars? Something round there?

Possum trapping is really common in New Zealand and that’s cos they are considered an invasive species that actually threaten kiwi bird habitats but some of the method of capturing the possums that are pretty archaic as Robert just showed with that possum trap just there. Robert then takes us outside to the aviary to see more of the birds in recovery.

Till they can fly we won’t let them go, once we see them starting to try and fly we put them out in the aviaries once we see them flying around the aviaries then they’re ready to go.

This one here has actually found a partner now.

Robert then shows us a cheeky tui that actually used to be in recovery here but he comes back every so often for a cheeky feed from the food on the trees.

So when it’s a baby once they start to fly you can’t let them go till they’re about 8 months old cos if you can’t take them back to the right place the other tui will attack and kill them.

Oh no.

Tui are fascinating birds that can learn and repeat what they hear.

He can say lots of things, he’ll start talking shortly, he’ll ask you how’s your cold and come here, be quick…


Sing Pop Goes the Weasel. And the other one can talk as well.

Come on, quick.

Pop Goes the Weasel.

Oh my God I can’t believe that we have just seen a talking tui, we’ve seen tui making crazy noises in the forest before but we had no idea they could do that!

This is where we keep our harrier hawks. One is hiding the back here at the moment.

Next enclosure we are heading to is the one with the harrier hawk which is the most common native bird of prey in New Zealand. And Robert tells us all the different stages of colour it goes through.

They start off very black.


Then they go from a black to very dark brown, a few changes to lighter brown. Then they go to a very dark orange and then a few shade of orange then they go to a dark yellow a very dark and then a few changes in yellow in end a very washed out lemon colour.

The birds are so well treated here that in the next enclosure we find a morepork which is not supposed to be here. It’s been released.

That’s one of our tame ones we let go about 5 years ago.


Every now and again it comes back and know how to get in the aviary. He lived in here for about a year or more.

We thought that was normal.

When you said about a morepork I thought where on Earth are you looking?

While grabbing his kiwi bird, Robert is still laughing off the fact that this morepork still makes its way into the cage.

Look at that she couldn’t be bothered.

They get to know you, ay? That one there if it’s the same one, he flies every night to the tree up there and I can even hear him.

Robert takes Sparky out of his enclosure and this is the closest we have ever got to a kiwi bird, as you’ll notice Sparky only has one leg and just as Robert was showing us before, Sparky actually got is legged trapped in a possum trap when he was just a chick and had to be brought to the recovery centre. Unfortunately, being a one-legged kiwi doesn’t make kiwi fair well in the wild so Sparky has been living a sort of a conservation icon ever since then helping people be educated on the threats that kiwi birds face. And it’s also an amazing opportunity to see how awesome these native New Zealand birds are.

So you guys are gonna tell us, Kiwi birds are nocturnal meaning that they usually forage for food at night and sleep during the day. However, because Sparky is an advocacy bird meaning that he is just for education purposes he has been acclimated to live during the day and sleep during the night like us humans. It has been a very slow work in order to not disturb the bird too much and to make sure he lives long and prosper.

It’s really cool to see him foraging all around gathering heaps of worms around us and actually not be too scared. It’s fascinating to see Kiwi birds so up close and we love the commentary that Robert is giving us.

Robert has years of experience in conservation work and has worked with so many different species. I really love his passion and his commitment to his cause.

After putting Sparky back into his enclosure Robert is bringing us to the next step of our tour.

What’s really cool about the Whangarei Native Bird Recovery centre is that it’s actually free of charge to have a look around the aviaries and see which birds are in recovery and get a real close-up viewing of amazing New Zealand native birds.

And the next bird we’re gonna check out is a really cool bird and it’s actually in the hospital for a while because it had been hit by a car on the road. So Robert goes in to bring out this amazing harrier hawk.

Sadly, this harrier hawk cannot fly anymore but with all the care and knowledge of the bird recovery centre they have good hopes to be able to release him in the wild again.

One of the really awesome thing when seeing these birds so close is that we get to see all the detail of their anatomy which is absolutely fascinating you will notice that this bird in particularly keeps his mouth open for the whole time and this is a common thing with most bird species they actually do that when they are stressed and obviously surrounded by so many humans, he’s a little bit stressed so for this reason, Robert is taking him back to recover in peace.

So today, we are horse trekking in Whangarei. Wait no we’re not. Let’s run back to stables. Little Johnny needs my help.

Can I get the notes so I know what to talk about instead of that.